Insulating Garage - Two Bedrooms Above


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Old 12-19-13, 09:39 AM
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Insulating Garage - Two Bedrooms Above

Hi everyone! First post/thread and my first day here! I've been a homeowner for almost 2 years and have done countless amounts of projects (some trial and error).

Now, it's time to correct a major problem: COLD BEDROOMS!
The cause is simple: 2 of our 3 bedrooms are above the garage. The bedroom not above the garage is quite warm.

The garage is roughly 22.5' x 11.5'. The garage door is very old and after this project I'm having a new one installed by a professional. In the meantime, I need to re-insulate the entire ceiling. Originally, there were those cheap/soft-ish tiles. I ripped those down last year. I removed all of the furring strips and have already purchased some batt insulation. While I'd love it sprayed, that's way too expensive.

The old setup: R11 insulation, with the faced side down, and a vapor barrier underneath (the garage door side, so only half the ceiling). I believe a vapor barrier and the paper side down would lead to moisture being trapped, so I pulled the vapor barrier out and trashed it.

The joists/cavities: It's 2x8, but I swear it measures exactly 7", not 7.5" like most people tell me. R30 by me is over 10 inches. The ceiling is already quite low, so I thought I'd get insulation that's one stop smaller. Unfortunately, there is no R23-26 available. My choices are R19 (6.25"), or R21 (5.5").

I'm having a hard time here. I ripped half of the ceiling insulation out (the R11) and threw it out. I replaced it with R19, but R19 makes me feel like it may not help that much. I still have the other half to do. I could leave the R11 and add say R13 (but remember, paper side is already down, and I'm afraid above the vapor constraints and it being done improperly), I could suck it up and go with R30 (and maybe thin it out manually down to R25 or so), I could stay with R19, or I could use R21 and buy unfaced R30 to manually make the R21 thicker. I could skin 2 inches of the unfaced R30 and dump it into the cavity, touching the ceiling (bedroom floor - plywood), then put the R21 underneath.

1. What are your suggestions with some of my thoughts?
2. Should I install paper side towards the garage floor or ceiling?
3. Should I go unfaced and install my own vapor barrier?

Thanks in advance! I'm open to any suggestions and criticism too. I admit I'm no pro at this and still learning.

Happy holidays!
 
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Old 12-19-13, 10:55 AM
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Old 12-19-13, 11:39 AM
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Darn, I'd have to ORDER it to ship to Lowes, but it looks like their R30 is 7.25", which is PERFECT.

Now, if I go with that, it'll cost me about 2.5x as much, and how would I vapor barrier/install it? Should I buy the plastic vapor barrier and put up in the cavities against the garage ceiling (bedroom floor)? If so, how do I fasten it up there? I'm close to pulling the trigger on Roxul.
Thanks.
 

Last edited by godman114; 12-19-13 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 12-19-13, 04:56 PM
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Yes, the vapor retarder needs to go next to the heated area. You could use some plastic sheeting and start at one end by stapling the plastic to the lower edge of the ceiling joist and then shoving the Roxul up between the joists in a manner that pushes the plastic ahead of the insulation. Wrap the plastic around the bottom of the next joist and shove up the next batt of insulation. The Roxul will stay in place by friction until you can get the drywall ceiling back up.

Myself, I might be tempted to forego the vapor retarder and just use the insulation. Roxul is dense enough that there is little air passage through it.
 
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Old 12-20-13, 06:32 AM
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Furd, thanks bro!
I was thinking about using the vapor retarder to hopefully (maybe) seal any fumes coming from the garage also. I'm going to buy the cans of gap fillers to fill in any cracks, and maybe some caulk (although I feel I don't need much)...

I feel like the vapor barrier will be annoying to deal with and in my face as I'm working with it...
 
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Old 12-20-13, 05:47 PM
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The Roxul, or any spun insulation, should not be left uncovered. When you install and finish the drywall ceiling, you can air seal that.

BTW, since warm air rises, I would focus more on insulating above the bedrooms.
 
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Old 12-20-13, 07:55 PM
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Nashkat1, I should definitely put up drywall on the ceiling? I was hoping I didn't have to... and if I have to, I can put the vapor barrier underneath it prior to the drywall, even though that would be the colder side?
 
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Old 12-21-13, 07:46 PM
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Is it frowned upon to make your own insulation out of unfaced insulation... meaning, some places I have R19 or R21, I want to add unfaced insulation, so I bought R30 unfaced and going to peal 2 inch layers at it if it doesn't end up messy...
 
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Old 12-24-13, 01:18 PM
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Merry X-Mas Eve!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone know if fiberglass is okay to peel off a layer and make my own? For example, use R21 (5.5inch), and peel off 2 inches of unfaced R30 to add another R6 or so for a total of R27. That would end up much cheaper than getting Roxul. As awesome as Roxul sounds, we are tight on money and I'd rather not dip into savings if fiberglass does a fair comparison.

And if I go with fiberglass, still wondering if the paper side should DEFINITELY be facing upward against the bedroom. I won't have gypsum board up too soon...
 
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Old 12-31-13, 06:16 PM
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Where in NY? Check some local building supply places not just Lowe's or Home Depot. I'm on Long Island and the big boxes don't carry the R-25. Riverhead Building Supply stocks Johns Manville in R-25. It has a perforated plastic on it. I used it under my daughters floor more for sound as there will be heated living space under it. Prior to renovations, there was R-11 (15" wide stuffed in a 10" space). The room under is 15' wide, 7' is her floor, 8' is attic area/small roof line. The r-11 was in the attic area and nothing under her floor. The cold air traveled from soffit to under her floor through the perfect V created by stuffing the insulation. Previous owner rolled R-19 on top trying to help but it didn't. The cold under floor and coming through high hats was crazy.

Room is not heated yet but her floor is nice and warm now. I did R-30 (cut to fit the 10") in the ceiling/attic bays and the R-25 (also cut to width) under her floor. The vapor barrier is always supposed to go toward the heated side. Seal the garage good and add some heat.
 
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Old 01-01-14, 04:55 AM
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The first you should be doing is air sealing. Any gap or hole that you find should be sealed. Then you insulate. Fiberglass insulation will not stop air flow. The paper should be installed against the floor of the room. You need to cover the ceiling with 5/8" drywall to comply with fire codes and to prevent air flow through the insulation.

Are there any heating ducts that run through the ceiling to supply the rooms?

After watching all those Holmes on Holmes episodes, it seems garages are a major source of cold infiltration. They never seem to be insulated properly. You may not notice it now, but I think you will get results from fixing the insulation there. However, there is a good chance that there are problems elsewhere. This insulation should be enough to keep the cold out from the garage. If the room still isn't warm enough, I don't think replacing the garage door with a new one is going to help. Spend that money elsewhere first.
 
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Old 01-01-14, 06:51 AM
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My dads version of air sealing way back. My room was above the garage which was under their cape next to/part of basement. You actually had to drive around to back of house over the grass to get to it. When we moved in it had one of those one piece wood garage doors that swung out and up like a pivot. Of course there was no insulation in the ceiling (or sheetrock) either. Every winter we would nail up thick plastic inside and out and use tubes of dirt (long plastic filled 3-4" thick and rolled/taped/sealed to hold the bottoms tight to ground.

It made a huge difference but was still cold. many years later we insulated the ceiling with whatever fit correctly but still no sheetrock. We also replaced the door to a more modern insulated version with draft seals.
 
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Old 01-01-14, 04:44 PM
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I saw the last few posts. Thanks for responding guys. I'm deciding against the Roxul as it's pricey and I have to wait for the order to come in (at least a week).

I have been thinking about using R21 faced (paper side up) to fill 5.5" and then peeling unfaced R30 and adding it to the R21 to fill up to 7". Then, lightning rods to hold it in place... no staples.

Thoughts on that?
 
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Old 01-01-14, 05:07 PM
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Lightning rods? You should be able to buy metal sticks specifically for holding up insulation. I know I used some like 20 years ago.

You are going to stuff R30 into a 1 1/2" space? That doesn't make sense. R21 will be more than enough.
 
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Old 01-01-14, 05:13 PM
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Yes the metal rods. That's what I meant and no I wouldn't stuff r30 into the remaining 1.5". I would PEEL unfaced r30. Peel a 1.5" layer off of it and add it to the unfaced side of the r21. Basically stuff the r21 in first with paper-side up, then put a 1.5" layer more. Then put the metal rods up. How does that sound?
 
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Old 01-02-14, 10:46 AM
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Forgot to answer drooplug about ducts. Yes, is also ductwork (that's another problem) - one of them goes through a whole maze before it gets to our bedroom, due to a horrible design.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 02:12 PM
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Peeling apart insulation to add an extra 1.5" is going to be more work than it is worth. With R-21, you are blocking about 95% of heat transfer via conduction. R-30 brings that number up to 97%.

What type of duct do you have? Is it flex duct, rigid round, or rigid square? How is it run? Does it run through a soffit? I would make sure all the seams of the duct are sealed with duct mastic or foil tape before you insulate. I would also keep the duct between the insulation and the room. Don't stuff insulation between the duct and room.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 03:52 PM
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Thanks bud.

It's rigid round. I do have some tape and the mastic tube so i will definitely take your advice. Something horrible, though... The insulation in this house all around is bad... Have some frozen pipes right now in my basement unfortunately it's behind a tile wall and the cinder block!! I have to rip it apart to get back there if I want to insulate properly.

Thanks so much so far guys!!!
Happy new year!!
 
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Old 02-22-14, 01:56 PM
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Finished garage ceiling needs insulation

Not sure how or where i am supposed to post this so forgive me if i am doing this wrong.

My master bedroom is over my unheated garage and the floor of the bedroom is terribly cold. The ceiling in the garage is finished and as such I don't know what is between the floor and the ceiling regarding insulation but whatever there is it is not enough.

I am renting this house and before next winter i want to rectify this problem but i must first know what i am talking about before i approach the landlord with a solution.

The house is in Vancouver BC, where is rarely gets below freezing but when it does the room is cold.

My question is can i open up "part" of the finished ceiling in the garage, add insulation and then patch it up with new drywall. I am not interested in spraying as i don't think the landlord would go for that expense.

Thanks for any advice.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 05:07 PM
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Do you have adequate heating in that room? Part of my problem is that our forced hot air doesn't get to that room well because of architectural reasons.
 
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Old 02-28-14, 06:25 AM
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Well therein lays part of the problem. The room is 200 square feet with only one register, so no, in my opinion there is not adequate heating so i did install a wall mounted heater (Eco-Heater | Ceramic 400W Wall-Mounted Panel Heater With Built in Thermostat | Home Depot Canada) which adequately heats the room eventually but we I believe there is inadequate insulation in the floor, although i haven't pulled the floor up to check. So i guess what i really want to know is if i do add insulation (assuming there is room for it) will it do any good?

Thanks for you reply Godman

Mark
 
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Old 02-28-14, 05:22 PM
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Mark, that heater works well? I have 1500w heaters and they work well but blasting away at my energy bill like crazy!!
As far as insulation, in my option, unless you have a lot of draft coming from the ground you may be ok. Also, having the floor insulated ensures warmer feet. Are your feet freezing and does the garage below have a lot of draft coming in and this into your bedroom?
 
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Old 03-01-14, 10:53 AM
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Yes that heater works quite well but takes a while to warm the room and yes I am sure it is eating at my energy bill as most wall mounted heaters do.

Our feet are not necessarily freezing, just the room in general is much colder than any other in the house. There are no real drafts coming in to the garage.

So i guess my salient question is whether adding insulation will make any difference? That is if there is even room to add insulation as i haven't pulled up the floor to see what is there yet. The forced air into the room is poor to begin with and coupled with being over the garage makes for a cold master bedroom.

Just to complicate the situation even more, if i decide adding insulation is the way to go i would replace the carpet with hardwood laminate so am i hoping that adding insulation will make a difference or i may just be going from a cold carpet floor to a colder hardwood floor.
 
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Old 10-02-15, 06:24 AM
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I'm back! I built a work bench and shelves in my garage, finished new electrical work (lights and outlets), have a new garage door and a new garage door opener.

I have one last piece to finish up, and that's the ceiling. I have the bays filled with batt insulation (paper side up against the ceiling, and batts facing down). I have to block the fibers!! Sheetrocking the ceiling will be extremely complicated as I have very low clearance, ductwork in the way, the garage door track very tight to the joists, etc.

Any recommendations? I'm afraid with putting plastic (vapor barrier) because then I may get condensation due to having the paper side already up against the ceiling (our bedroom floor above). The barrier may create a trap for moisture between the paper and the plastic. If I can put something thin/easy up that's somewhat fireproof, that'll be nice too. Is treated plywood a bad idea? I just don't know what options I have. Thanks!
 
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Old 10-02-15, 07:22 AM
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Unfortunately, that needs a fire rated air barrier. To be an air barrier it needs to be rigid as anything that flexes acts like a bellows. For the fire rating, drywall is the best covering I can think of.

Having a garage below living space has a high risk of auto fumes and others seeping through into the house. Even if you do not intend to park a vehicle in there it must be built to code.

Bud
 
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Old 10-02-15, 09:55 AM
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Around here, that ceiling actually has to have two layers of drywall.
 
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Old 10-02-15, 09:56 AM
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Thanks, bud.

Well, it's going to stink to have to put drywall, but do you think it's ok if I just work around everything as best as possible, like ducts, electrical wiring, and the garage support brackets already pointed to the joists? The clearance is already low, so it would suck to go even lower.
 
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Old 10-02-15, 09:59 AM
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Going to need to consult the local AHJ on this one as there are codes for garages with living space above.
 
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Old 10-02-15, 10:04 AM
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OK thanks.
When I first moved in 3 years ago, the garage ceiling had those really cheap cardboard-like tiles mounted to furring strips. I'm surprised it passed inspection then!
 
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Old 10-02-15, 11:45 AM
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I agree with ss nd I doubt it passed inspection with the tiles you describe. The last one I did was double 5/8" drywall and it was a pain.
If electrical is stapled to the current joists that wiring will need to be moved to allow the drywall to be installed. Strapping might provide space but it would not allow protection for the wires.

Air ducts pose their own problem passing through a garage and they need to be enclosed to the living side of the drywall.

As ss said, time to talk to your local code official and be up front and ask him/her what you need to do to make this right. They like it when you ask before you do.

Bud
 
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Old 10-02-15, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I am not happy with knowing that if I put a car in there, it's going to stink up the bedrooms above. I ocassionally smoke a cigar in the garage too, and, although it's minimal, you can smell some of it upstairs. I'd like that problem to become less of a problem too.
 
  #32  
Old 10-02-15, 02:08 PM
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The concern is far worse than just the smell. The CO (carbon monoxide) produced by automobiles is extreme and very deadly. Years ago I had one of those rental units with a garage bay on one side and offices on the other. Within a minute of pulling in a vehicle and shutting it off the CO detector in the office would go off. Someone pulls a vehicle in and forgets to shut it off and the people sleeping in those rooms above aren't going to wake up. No easy way to say it, but that is why they want a perfect air barrier between the garage and the living space.

Bud
 
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Old 10-02-15, 02:18 PM
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And the CO doesn't tip you off with a smell... you just wake up dead never knowing what hit you.
 
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Old 10-02-15, 04:05 PM
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You guys have sold the importance of it. I just told my wife that she'll have to accept this as my next project. This one I'm not looking forward to due to the complexity of the duct work, electrical work, and garage brackets that'll all have to be redone.

Is it free to call in someone to check about code? I've never done that before... calling someone in, so I don't even know where to start.

YOU GUYS ROCK! Thanks so far!
 
 

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